Seattle Pacific University Students gathered on patch of grass at the center of campus Friday to pray for each other, standing in a circle, their arms locked around each other’s shoulders.
“We want your presence to be known, God, and sometimes it’s hard. As I was sitting there in the service yesterday and trying to figure out, how are you going to turn this mess into a message? And I was lost, but God, you’ve done it before and you’ll do it again. I don’t know how you’re going to do that and I have little faith, but help us overcome our disbelief, God.”
That student asked that I not use his name. He said he didn’t want to profit from the tragedy that the focus should be on the community.
But even in this community of evangelical Christians, there are some people who don’t quite fit in.
“I’m Roman Catholic. So I’ve had a different experience here at SPU. But I just see it especially today that just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who has the wrong ideas or the right ideas. We love each other – and this is a family,” said Justin Echevarria.
SPU faculty were called back to campus Friday to be available for students. A service was held at noon. So many people attended that overflow sites, like a gymnasium, had to be used.
Professor Ruth Ediger is encouraging students to forgive the gunman. “That level of forgiveness, you can just tap into it. And it comes into your soul. And you can walk forward,” Ediger said.
And if the students gathered on the lawn are any indication, they’ll be walking forward together with friends.